The French regulator is increasingly preferring settlement agreements to enforcement action and sanctions. That’s good news for firms, but it doesn’t let them off the hook. Since they were introduced in 2010, settlement agreements have given the French regulator, the Autorité de Marchés Financiers (AMF), an alternative to enforcement action. It’s one we are seeing more frequently, and it’s likely to continue, with the AMF’s head of enforcement recently publicly promoting the use of settlements. That’s largely good news for firms that find themselves being inspected. Settlements offer the opportunity of a quicker, cheaper and more flexible resolution to cases. It is not just that enforcement action is a more formal process; it is also far longer. Even once the Sanctions Commission is instructed to intervene in a case, firms must generally wait at least another 18 to 24 months for a decision. And cases rarely go their way.
The Global Enforcement Review (GER) provides analysis and commentary on global enforcement trends in the financial services industry. To compile this report, we studied published data released by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong in 2016 and recent years. We have also explored the enforcement trends in various offshore jurisdictions.